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Somerset Army Cadets

Somerset Army Cadets - our all inclusive 'Green Team' supports ages 12-18 and wide-ranging diversity under one common banner

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Somerset Army Cadets is headquartered in Taunton, comprising a small permanent staff, and has four Companies that span the county - Gibraltar Company in the north west quarter, Normandy Company in the north east quarter, Salamanca Company in the south east quarter and Jellalabad Company in the south west quarter. Additionally the Silver Bugles Band is drawn from two platoons, Uphill Platoon from Gibraltar Company and Frome Platoon from Normandy Company.

The Battalion is affiliated to The Rifles and that cap badge is worn across the county, apart from one platoon at Wincanton that is affiliated to the Army Air Corps.

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G Coy - 1704

Gibraltar Company. The first battle honour of the Earl of Barrymore’s Regiment of Foot, for the defence of the Island of Gibraltar from the Spanish during the Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

During this period regiments were named after their Colonels, the title changing with each new Colonel, until the confusing practice was outlawed in 1751.

Thus the Earl of Barrymore’s Regiment of Foot, later to become Cotton’s Regiment of Foot and thence Pulteney’s Regiment of Foot, become the 13th Regiment of Foot in 1751 and eventually the 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot in 1782, formed part of the garrison of Gibraltar in order to defend it, having recently captured it from Spain. Spain laid siege to Gibraltar in order to recapture it but failed, despite a long campaign known as the Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar (1704-1705). Gibraltar was formally ceded to Britain at the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

2500 144 TAB GCOY 1705 Seige Of Gibraltar 03 2x

J Coy - 1842

Jellalabad Company. A battle honour that is unique to the Somerset Light Infantry, for the relief of the besieged Afghan town of Jelalabad (later Jellalabad), and the subsequent defeat of the Afghan army in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842).

During the campaign the 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment (Light Infantry) were forced to retreat from Kabul to the fortified outpost of Jelalabad. The siege lasted for five months, during which they withstood many attacks. Finally when the 13th were down to their last few rounds, the garrison, led by Sir Robert Sale, broke the siege and attacked the Afghans, driving them off the field with a final bayonet charge.

Although the war was essentially an English reverse, battle honours and campaign medals were awarded and the conduct of the 13th at Jelalabad was officially rewarded on 26th August 1842 when Prince Albert offered his patronage to the regiment and permitted his name to be used in the title, becoming the 13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert’s Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot.

2500 144 TAB JCOY 1842 Jelalabad The Last Stand 02 2x

N Coy - 1944

Normandy Company. A campaign honour, rather than a battle honour, shared by all Light Infantry regiments that fought in Normandy, France, from mid-1944. The Somerset units involved were 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (4 SomLI), 7th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (7 SomLI) and 7th (Light Infantry) Bn Parachute Regiment (raised from 10th Bn Somerset Light Infantry). Heavy casualties were sustained during the campaign, with Somerset's losses at Hill 112 near Caen being particularly heavy. Two other LI battalions took part in the battle for Hill 112; 4th Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (4 KSLI) and 5th Bn Devon & Cornwall Light Infantry (5 DCLI).

The 2nd Bn Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Oxf & Bucks LI) were the first allied unit to land on French soil on D-Day when they captured Pegasus and Horsa Bridges crossing the Caen Canal and the River Orne in a textbook glider-borne action during Operation Tonga, the opening round of Operation Overlord.

2500 144 TAB NCOY 1944 Operation Tonga 02 2x

S Coy - 1812

Salamanca Company. A battle honour awarded for the defeat of a French army during the Peninsular War. The British and Portuguese armies in Spain were under the command of Lt Gen the Earl of Wellington. Those Light Infantry units taking part were 11th Foot (Devonshire Regiment) later The Devon & Dorset Regiment, 32nd Foot (Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry) later The Light Infantry, the 43rd Foot (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) later The Royal Green Jackets, the 51st Foot (King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) later The Light Infantry, 52nd Foot (Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry) later The Royal Green Jackets, the 53rd Foot (King’s Shropshire Light Infantry) later The Light Infantry, the 60th Foot (King’s Royal Rifle Corps) later The Royal Green Jackets, 61st Foot (Gloucestershire Regiment) later The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry, the 68th Foot (Durham Light Infantry) later The Light Infantry and the 95th Rifles (The Rifle Brigade) later The Royal Green Jackets. All were subsequently subsumed into The Rifles in 2007.

2500 144 TAB SCOY 1812 Battle 0f Salamanca 01 2x

Silver Bugles Band

The Silver Bugles Band, our jewel in the crown, is often seen as the public face of Somerset Army Cadets.

It is composed of cadets from two Platoons, Uphill and Frome, supported by a handful of adult volunteers.

The majority of band members arrive with little or no musical background and are instructed by volunteer adults who themselves often have no formal music training.

It is testament to their self-discipline and tenacity that cadets learn quickly to produce quality music whilst marching in complex sequences.

The Band members manage to combine their band training with the regular APC Syllabus whilst finding time to perform at events. This is only made possible by a dedicated staff and supportive parents, whose tailoring skills have proved invaluable over the years.

2500 144 TAB BAND PR732977 2x

Royal Albert Hall

Swift & Bold Concert, Royal Albert Hall

The Massed Bands & Bugles of the Regular, Reserve & Cadet Musicians of The Rifles performed for two nights at the Royal Albert Hall in London before 4000 guests and members of the Royal Family.

The musicians combine their band training with the APC Syllabus whilst finding time to perform at events; only made possible by a dedicated staff and supportive parents. They are an example of what ‘modern youth’ can achieve with the right support.

Twice a year, all Army Cadets bands gather for a ‘Concentration', a week-long music camp in which over 500 cadets at all levels play and learn together, culminating in a series of examinations and performances in one of the largest musical ensembles in the country. Bands are also in demand for military tattoos and parades all year round.

2500 144 TAB BAND PR478194 TM 2x

Sounding Retreat

Sounding Retreat on Horse Guards Parade

The Massed Bands & Bugles of the Regular, Reserve & Cadet Musicians of The Rifles performed for two nights Sounding Retreat on Horse Guards Parade, London.

So good were they that members of the audience asked whether the cadets were actually there as everyone played so professionally!

The music of The Rifles has a distinctive and unique sound. From the timeless ‘High On A Hill’ to the haunting ‘Last Post, the sound of the bugle is at the very heart of Somerset Army Cadets. The Rifles pioneered the use of the bugle more than 200 years ago as a way of communicating on the battlefields of the Peninsula War.

A symbol of Riflemen ever since, the bugle is worn today as the cap badge of every member of the Regiment and its affiliated Army Cadets’ units.

2500 144 TAB BAND PR613508 2x

Menin Gate

Sounding Retreat at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Ypres, Belgium

The Silver Bugles Band, specially invited for the event, Sounded Retreat at the Menin Gate before a vast audience and then held an impromptu display in the Grote Market outside the Cloth Hall, drawing a large audience of tourists and diners.

The Band perform at many events, notably at Military Tattoos, Armed Forces Days, escorted the Queen’s Medallist at Bisley, the Swift & Bold Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, Sounding Retreat at Horse Guards Parade, Sounding Retreat at the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres - and played for HM The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

Aside from gaining the technical ability to play an instrument, music improves commitment, discipline and self-esteem. Whatever your standard or choice of instrument once you reach a reasonable level, you will be able to take part in the band's busy schedule of engagements.

2500 144 TAB BAND PR668479 2x

Fun, action and friends

Too many young people are missing out on the challenges and adventures that could transform their lives.

We give youngsters from all walks of life access to fun, friendship, action and adventure, challenging them to learn more, do more and try more, inspiring them to aim high and go further in life. Our Cadet Force Adult Volunteers offer a huge range of training, qualifications and challenges. Cadets are inspired to explore their limits, become independent, confident and able to step up to any challenge. With over 650 cadets in Somerset, we make a big impact on young people, parents and communities. Cadets and adults keep telling us, "It’s the best thing I’ve ever done." And "Cadets builds people to be the best version of themselves."

If you’re between 12 and 18 and in at least Year 8 at school, you can join. Soon you’ll be having more fun and making more new friends than you ever thought possible.

2500 144 TAB CADETS PR773955 2x

Army Cadets Syllabus

Army Proficiency Certificate

Discover the huge range of qualifications that you can gain as a cadet with the APC Syllabus.

During your time in the Army Cadets you will follow a syllabus called the Army Proficiency Certificate which becomes more challenging each year. As you learn more about each topic and get better at it, you rise through the levels until you reach Four Star or Master Cadet level. Subjects include: Cadet and the Community, Ranks, Drill and Turnout, Expeditions, Fieldcraft, First Aid, Military Knowledge, Music, Navigation, Skill At Arms, Shooting, Signals, Sport, Junior Cadet Instructor Cadre (JCIC) and Senior Cadet Instructor Cadre (SCIC).

For those with an interest in music our Silver Bugles Band is one of the top bands in the country. Furthermore, if you have an interest in STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - we regularly send cadets on the Army's heavily subscribed and highly popular STEM course in mid-October.

2500 144 TAB SYL LW772084 2x

Fieldcraft

One of the main reasons why youngsters join is for Fieldcraft - often cited as one of two main reasons youngsters want to join Cadets, the other being shooting.

You start by learning the basics of personal camouflage, how to move as an individual in the field, how to live and survive in the field before going on to learn how to work together in the field, eventually commanding your own section. Fieldcraft is taught throughout the year, but during Annual Camp you will get to live out in the field over a number of days. Working as a team to patrol an area day and night, perhaps dealing with ambushes is one of the most exciting exercises that you'll experience during your cadet training. Teamwork and communication are both skills that are readily transferable to everyday life.

You may also be able to take your skills even further by competing for a place on Somerset’s Rifles National Cadet Competition team, or entering the Cadet Leadership Course or the Champion or Master Cadet Courses as the triumph to your cadet career.

2500 144 TAB FC PR668894 2x

Shooting

Shooting is one of the core skills in Army Cadets and the main reason why youngsters join. Learning about shooting will teach you a number of key skills, the most important of which are discipline and safety awareness. It also brings with it a great sense of achievement.

As a recruit you will not be allowed to fire any rifle until you have a full understanding of the use of that rifle and the vital safety procedures. All cadets, regardless of ambition and ability, start their initial training and handling skills on the Scorpion .177inch Air Rifle where the basic skills and attention to safety are carefully nurtured. Cadets progress to the L144A1 Cadet Small Bore Target Rifle before moving to the L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle. Safety, concentration and self-discipline are paramount. Cadets who excel in shooting can move on to competitive county, national and international shooting, with the L81A2 Cadet Target Rifle 7.62mm. Firing at ranges from 200 to 1000 metres, in all weather conditions, allows cadets to find their limits. Our shooting teams have one of the most successful records in the UK.

2500 144 TAB L98 PR779554 2x

Ten Tors Challenge

The Ten Tors Challenge - there may be many challenging outdoor events in Britain today, but Ten Tors stands alone in its scale, its ambition and the fact that it is aimed solely at young people. The event takes place every year on Dartmoor and all those who attempt Ten Tors will undoubtedly remember it for the rest of their lives - for many it will be a life-changing experience.

Training starts nine months in advance! Completing Ten Tors is not easy with the terrain, distances and often the climate all conspiring against success. Attracting 2,400 teenagers in 400 completely self-contained teams of six, the teams navigate and trek unaided on routes of 35, 45 or 55 miles (depending on age) over the northern half of Dartmoor National Park, visiting ten nominated tors/check points in under two days. They rely on their navigational skills and carry all their food, water, bedding, tents and other essentials on their backs. It is a feat they must complete as a team and without any help from adults.

It is achievable with the right commitment, training, endurance and grit: as the Event’s founder once said: “If there is anything more important than the will to succeed, it is that the will shall not falter.”

2500 144 TAB TT PR750774

RAF Cosford 2 Day Marches

RAF WARMA Cosford Two Day Marches. Apart from the fact that Cosford is a town and an RAF camp, the name means very little to most people, but to cadets the name resonates with the seeds of terror, carefully sown by older, more experienced cadets. Cosford is considered synonymous with sore feet, blisters, exhaustion and pain - lots of pain! Road marching may sound easy but the old hands know that it is anything but.

The RAF WARMA (Royal Air Force Walking And Road Marching Association) 2 Day Marches, an essential pre-qualifier for the Nijmegen 4 Day Marches held later in the Netherlands, is considered the ultimate test of fitness, determination, courage, teamwork and mind over matter.

Road marching tests a great deal more than mere physical fitness. If it was merely a matter of being fit almost anyone could walk 50 miles (80 kms) in two days or 107 miles (172 kms) in four, but many people find it very tough to achieve these sort of targets. What the entrants need is what the Army Cadets excels at; preparation, planning, training and teamwork.

2500 144 TAB COS PR644432

Nijmegen 4 Day Marches

Nijmegen Four Day Marches - Stichling De 4 DAAGSE - The Walk of the World; whatever you choose to call the event it is simply massive.

The first Nijmegen March started in 1909 with 109 entrants and over the intervening 120 years the event has grown in status, becoming the biggest, longest and hardest event of its kind in the world with more than 45,000 participants!

The distances covered by the military teams, including Somerset Army Cadets total 165km over four days. Competitors have a different route each day; through the provinces of Gelderland, North Brabant and Limburg, through the city of Nijmegen and its suburbs.

Our long and rigorous training programme starts on Salisbury Plain in January, via completing the Cosford 2 Day Marches, the approved mandatory pre-Nijmegen qualifier. Historically, Somerset has always trained hard for the marches and have generally done exceptionally well. Train Hard, Fight Easy is our motto.

2500 144 TAB NIJ PR506390

Rifles Cadet Competition

The Rifles Cup - The Rifles National Cadet Competition is the gold standard Fieldcraft competition for Rifles' badged cadets.

The Rifles Cup is designed to test cadets’ APC skills to the maximum in a wide variety of tasks, day and night, in all weathers over the course of a long weekend, supported by The Rifles and HQSW CTT. It allows cadets to pit their skills against similarly badged cadets from across the country and is a real test of stamina, teamwork and communications, challenging cadets in many areas.

Cadet teams are allowed almost no adult involvement throughout the weekend, save for safety reasons, forcing them to plan and make their own decisions. Teams have to determine their own routes, using all their patrolling skills which are being tested too, in order to get to each test stand within their allocated time span, although all the competitors are unaware of the criteria used to assess them, meaning that all teams have to be on top of all their skills for the whole event.

2500 144 TAB RCUP PR668922

The British Army

For those Somerset cadets who wish to pursue a career in the Armed Forces after Army Cadets - the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Marines, there are a number of routes open to you.

For the British Army there are four possible routes open to you: recruitment as a soldier in the British Army, recruitment as an officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, or via Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College, or the Army Foundation College (AFC) Harrogate.

You may also consider a part-time career as a soldier in the Army Reserve or as an officer in the Army Reserve.

2500 144 TAB CAREER ARMY PR351604 2 2x

The Royal Navy

For those Somerset cadets who wish to pursue a career in the Armed Forces after Army Cadets - the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Marines, there are a number of routes open to you.

For the Royal Navy there are two routes open to you: recruitment as a rating in the Royal Navy or recruitment as an officer in the Royal Navy.

You may also consider a part-time career as a rating in the Royal Naval Reserve, or as an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve.

2500 144 TAB CAREER RN PR244749 2x

The Royal Air Force

For those Somerset cadets who wish to pursue a career in the Armed Forces after Army Cadets - the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Marines, there are a number of routes open to you.

For the Royal Air Force there are are number of routes open to you: recruitment as an airman in the Royal Air Force, recruitment as a graduate officer at the Royal Air Force; for an overview of the RAF application process, click here.

You may also consider a part-time career in the Royal Air Force Reserve.

2500 144 TAB CAREER RAF GL218846 2x

The Royal Marines

For those Somerset cadets who wish to pursue a career in the Armed Forces after Army Cadets - the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force or the Royal Marines, there are a number of routes open to you.

For the Royal Marines follow this link to find out more. For an overview of the Royal Marines application process, click here.

You may also consider a part-time career in the Royal Marines Reserve.

2500 144 TAB CAREER RM PR112978 2x

Battalion Staff

480 144 COL ELLIOTT PR714210 2x

Col Rupert Elliott Commandant

480 144 LT COL KENDALL PR509767 2x

Lt Col Stephen Kendall MBE Deputy Commandant G1

480 144 LT COL AXTEN PR714151 2x

Lt Col Andy Axten Deputy Commandant G7

480 144 WO1 GODFREY PR709990 2x

WO1 RSM (SMI) Andy Godfrey Regimental Serjeant Major

2500 144 TAB STAFF PR771852

Company Commanders

480 144 MAJ BUNKER PR509699 2x

Maj (BM) Scott Bunker OC Gibraltar Company

480 144 MAJ WING PR524037 2x

Maj Robert Wing OC Jellalabad Company

480 144 MAJ KITCHING PR733542 2x

Maj Jason Kitching OC Normandy Company

480 144 MAJ TATLER PR709690 2x

Maj Tim Tatler OC Salamanca Company

2500 144 TAB STAFF PR771898

HQ Staff

480 144 MAJ PEARCE PR617937 2x

Maj Chris Pearce Battalion Training Major

480 144 WO1 LEVETT PR481316 PRT 2x

WO1 TSM (SMI) Nigel Levett Training Serjeant Major

480 144 CAPT MARSH PR739414 2x

Capt Polly Marsh RA Diversity & Engagement Officer

480 144 WO2 RUSSELL PR498171 C 2x

WO2 (SMI) Peter Russell County PR Officer

2500 144 TAB STAFF PR761848

Permanent Staff

480 144 WO2 HUNT PR481370 2x

Administrative Officer WO2 (SMI) Elaine Hunt

480 144 MAJ CAWKWELL PR714135 2x

Administrative Officer (Pay) Maj Paul Cawkwell

480 144 CAPT BETTY PR509743 2x

Quartermaster Capt (QM) Simon Betty

480 144 LT KENWORTHY PR660097 2x

MTO & Stores Assistant Lt James Kenworthy

2500 144 TAB STAFF TH775062

SOMERSET ARMY CADETS - A BRIEF HISTORY

1900 saw the first army cadet unit founded in Somerset at Bath – 1st Cadet Corps of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, (1 Vol Bn Som LI).

1912 saw the Church Lads Brigade (CLB) in Somerset receive receive official recognition as army cadets. These formed the majority of the early units within the county, expanding to 4 battalions, all of which had become affiliated to the King’s Royal Rifles Corps by 1918.

WW1. Throughout the Great War the cadets in Somerset carried out important roles in support of the war effort by acting as messengers, assisting with Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) hospitals, working on harvest camps and helping provide guards at vulnerable points. For their work special commendations were awarded to the OC of the Queen’s College Cadet Battalion (QCCB) and the 1st Cadet Corps, 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (Territorial Force), (1 Cdt Corps 4 Som LI (TF)).

1915 saw the first open unit formed at Wedmore as a Cadet Corps of the 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (Territorial Force), (4 Som LI (TF)), under the command of Capt WG Burrough. Other school based units were raised, mostly in Grammar Schools, also including the Queen’s College Cadet Battalion (QCCB) at Taunton of the 5th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (Territorial Force), (5 Som LI (TF)).

1916 saw Somerset form the only cadet unit to be deployed on active service abroad during WW1. The Severn Cadet Corps was raised at Portishead and comprised 1 officer and 115 other ranks. It served in France by making petrol cans to support the growing tanks and mechanised transport units. Two cadets were killed during their time in France, probably in accidents, as smoking - so commonplace in those days - and petrol did not make for safe bedfellows!

The post-Great War years started with many strong cadet units across the county, all being a part of their local TA Somerset Light Infantry battalion. The emphasis of training moved to sport and shooting with particular success in the King’s Shield miniature rifle shooting competition by the 1st Cadet Corps, 4th Bn Somerset Light Infantry (Territorial Force), (1 Cdt Corps 4 Som LI (TF)).

1930 saw the loss of official recognition and the banning of the wearing of regimental badges and the use of TA drill halls. This resulted in the loss of the open cadet units, leaving the grammar school units to keep alive the cadet movement outside of the Officer Training Corps (OTC).

1935 was marked by the removal of the CLB units from the army cadet movement, which affected the county greatly.

WW2. The army cadets steadily grew back during Word War Two, expanding to six Somerset battalions by the end of the war, working closely with the Home Guard and providing a presence in most towns and many villages throughout the county. In some instances special units were raised in factories for the boy employees (Westland’s Company of the 3rd Army Cadet Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry). In 1942 all of the non-JTC army cadet units joined the newly formed Army Cadet Force. The army cadets continued with the roles that they undertook during the previous war. At one time, so it is reported, Coleford Platoon (a former unit in the N Coy area) had over 1000 cadets!

In the post-war period the ACF in Somerset evolved from providing pre-service support to the period of National Service (1946-61) to being a part of today’s Army sponsored youth organisation that is proud of its role as a part of the county regiment. Over that time a quarter of its strength was lost through the creation of the County of Avon (1974) but eventually most of these units returned. 1968 saw all units re-badging to The Light Infantry, being the last unit to give up the badge of the old Somerset Light Infantry. Shooting become a strong feature with the Chard School unit being prominent in the Watts Bowl competition. In recent years the battalion has been particularly active in the fields of Shooting, Ten Tors, First Aid, Claire Shaw Trophy, Light Division Cup and at the Nijmegen Marches. In 2007 the county re-badged following the amalgamation of The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBWLI), The Light Infantry (LI), The Royal Green Jackets (RGJ), The Devonshire & Dorset Regiment (D&D) as well as a TA unit, The Royal Rifle Volunteers, to form The Rifles - the largest infantry regiment in the Army.

Historic images - blast from the past

Contact us

Somerset Cadet Battalion (The Rifles) ACF

Jellalabad House, 14 Mount Street

Taunton, Somerset TA1 3QE

County PR Officer/Web Master

WO2 (SMI) Peter Russell